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Meze 99 Classics

Rating:
4.34615/5,
  1. reddog
    a superb sounding, sexy looking portable headphone
    Written by reddog
    Published Mar 31, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - a fun sounding headphone, portable, easy to drive, sexy looking.
    Cons - the cups could be a tad larger, wish the headphones folded for more better portability.
    About Me
    I am a 52 year old audophile,  from Bradenton Florida.  I have been in this hobby, for about two years.   The sound from headphone blew me away, and I dived down the proverbial rabbit hole and have not come back up.   I use headphones to cope with pain from a back injury.  Furthermore  headphones allow me to hear the sound, without out side distractions. I suffer from a cognitive hearing disorder and headphones have allowed me to over come this problem and to enjoy music for the first time, in a very long time.   I am a temporarily  unemployed vcr repairman and improv pirate actor
    Equipment Used
    Source​
    MacBook Pro​
    Tidal​
    OPPO  BPD-103​
    ONKYO CD Player​
    Queststyle QP1R​
    Dacs​
    Schiit Audio Yggdrasil​
    Schiit Audio Gungnir Multibit​
    Music​
    Frank Zappa​
    Apostrophe: track 8: Uncle Remus​
    Guitar: track 3: Republican​
    One Sise Fits All: track 7: San Ber'dino​
    Led Zeppeplin : Bron-Y-Aur-Stomp​
    Isao Tomita​
    The Planets: Mars, The Bringer of War​
    Dave Brubeck​
    Time Out​
    Disk 1: track 3: Take Five​
    Charles Mingus​
    Mingus Ah Um​
    Track 3: Boogie Stop Shuffle​
    Track 4: Self-Portrait: in Three Colors​
    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart​
    Molto Allegro​
    Green Jelly​
    Cereal Killer Soundtrack​
    Track 2: Three Little Pigs​
    Kate Bush​
    The Sensual World.​
    The Headphone: The Build 
    I participated in the Meze 99 Classics Tour and here is the review.  When I signed for these headphones, I was really impressed with the box they came in.  The box is very sturdy,  and has a has a clever magnet  that keeps the box closed.  Within the box, one will find the headphones in  a  nice clam carrying case, and inside the case,  a small leather bag, that has the 1/4th adapter and  a cell phone lightning adapter. Also in the box are two headphone cables.  One cable is long and nice to use on desktop amps. The second cable, is  shorter and is meant to be used with a cell phone.  I thought the cables are well made, although they can be a bit microphonic, at times.   If I buy myself these headphones, I will see about getting  a custom balanced cable from Norne Audio.  
    These headphones look very nice and are well made.  The   walnut headphone cups are very nice, although they might be a tad small for some people.  The headband is covered in leather  and I found it was very comfortable, no over clamping, like a medieval torture device.  The twin manganese spring steal headband supports are tough and add to the natural beauty of these sexy headphones.  While out and about the town,  I found these cans to be quite light and comfortable to wear.  Furthermore my the foam on the ears cups breathe quite well and my ears rarely got overly warm.   These amazing portable closed cans do not leak out sound to much and isolate me from outside disturbances like the phone, the nagging  cat,  alarm clocks, or pesky storm warning alarms lol.
    SPECS 
    Tranducer Size: 40mm​
    Frequency responce: 15Hz- 25Khz​
    Sensitivity: 103db at 1KHz, 1mW​
    Impedance: 32Ohm​
    Rated input power: 30mW​
    Maximum input power: 50mW​
    Detachable Kevlar OFC cable​
    Plug 3.5 mm Gold plated​
    Weight: 260 gr (9.2 ounces) without cables​
    Ear-cups: Walnut wood​
    SOUND
    The Meze 99 Classics is a great sounding portable headphone.  I found the sound to be fun, with nice emphasis on the bass, slight recessed mids,  great vocals and alright  non fatiguing treble.  I was surprised how much I enjoyed the fun sound signature.  Normally I want my headphones to sound balanced, and natural sounding.  But  I really enjoyed the emphasis on the bass. The bass on these cans satisfies the bass monkey, that sleeps on my back.  The bass emphasis  really made the guitars in  Frank Zappa's San Ber'dino fun to listen too.   Likewise the bass in Led Zeppelin" Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, sounded  so deep and satisfying.  Finally the bass made Frank Zappa's Republicans sound ominous, almost scary.
    Because of the emphasized bass, the mids seemed just a tad reccesed  but  the vocals have a texture to them and  are out of this world good.  The   vocals by Zappa, Kate Bush and Green Jelley sounded very pallable and real  through the Meze.   The mids on the Meze are still smooth sounding with a slight edginess, that really made jazz sound sweet.  Dave Brubeck and Charles Mingus sound just right, coming through these amazing cans. The treble is non fatiguing and sounded alright to my ears.
    The soundstage is wide, but not to deep.  Still pretty good for a closed back can. Most of the music I listened too, the soundstage was quite nice, with a nice three-dimensional quality.  Tomita's The Planest sounded quite nice out of these sexy wooden headphones.  The soundstage was able to handle the different sounds and place them adequately around my ears.   Only when I was listening to Mozart did I think the soundstage was a bit congested sounding.
    These headphones are quite easy to drive.  I used a great many amps with them, but it was overkill.  Even on low gain, I did not have to crank up the volume at all, to get these cans to sing.  I hooked them up to the Liquid Crimson and the Ragnarok and the cans sounded great, but I could barely turn up the volume. I was afraid these big powerful amps might damage  these exquiste headphones   The best device I used to make these cans sing was the QP1R, on medium gain.  The QP1R made these headphones sound great,  a very good synergy between these two.  
    Conclusion
    I think the Meze 99 classics headphone is a great headphone.  it has a fun, slightly v shaped sound signature, with nice emphasis on the bass  The cans are quite well made and 
    sound great.  These headphones are quite portable and were a pleasure to take out and about.  These cans were the only ones I have worn, where two pretty ladies
    , thought I looked good wearing these sexy cans.  I even had a dishwasher come out and ask about the headphones.  I highly recomend these headphones to anyone who wants to just enjoy listening to music.  I love my other cans but these cans fun music signature are perfect for walking around, doing stuff. When at home I use my other cans, for critical listening.
    here are  some pictures of these amazingly fun and sexy headphones. IMG_20160327_112748.jpg
    IMG_20160327_112844.jpg
    IMG_20160321_090656.jpg
    IMG_20160321_090656.jpg
    IMG_20160321_090744.jpg
    IMG_20160321_090726.jpg
     
    IMG_20160327_112844.jpg
     
     
     ​
      Bert, gevorg, FortisFlyer75 and 11 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. pbui44
      My winking smiley did not show up for some reason, so take the above recommendation as a joke and tread lightly with the album in total enjoyment.
      pbui44, Apr 14, 2016
    3. mikemercer
      Great job! love em too!!!!
      mikemercer, Jun 7, 2016
    4. reddog
      Thank you everyone for the kind words.
      reddog, Jun 7, 2016
  2. glassmonkey
    Meze Headphones 99 Classics: Exuding class, with intricately layered lush mids
    Written by glassmonkey
    Published Mar 26, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Detailed layered midrange, gorgeous aesthetics, light weight, easy to drive, excellent accessories
    Cons - Bass heavy, some distortion at low end, small cup size, thin pads, some clamping related fatigue

    Acknowledgment    

    Thank you Meze Headphones for allowing me to participate in your European tour in exchange for my honest opinion of the Meze Headphones 99 Classics.

    Introduction

    Meze Headphones is a relatively new headphone manufacturer. The 99 Classics were funded through a Kickstarter campaign and are now out trying to conquer our ears with lush mid-range overtones. When I write reviews for items that I didn't buy, I use the lower price of Amazon.com or list price. The conquest proceeds after the break, but first here's a little bit-o-junk about me. There is no such thing as an impartial observer, so I suggest you know where reviewers you invest your trust in are coming from.
     
    Like most sensible people I starting falling in love with music as a child. My first portable audio device was a Sony Walkman (the cassette kind) that I got when I was 10 years old (24 years ago).  I listened with the cheap Sony on ears that came with the Walkman until I bought a Koss CD boombox and started listening to UAF College Radio and 103.9 (alternative rock at the time) in Fairbanks, Alaska. I once listened to Louie Louie for 3 days straight, and I’m not insane. My musical tastes started out with listening to what my friends liked (Dr. Dre and Green Day) and what my parents liked (The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan) and I only really discovered my own musical tastes and sonic preferences in my late teens to early 20s. What I discovered is that I have very eclectic and some would say weird tastes. I could be listening to gay punk rock, Japanese dream garble pop, 8-bit chiptune, Scandinavian black metal, Latin guitar, the Mariinsky Orchestra, or Miles Davis, but I mostly listen to Classic Rock and Indie/Alternative. I’m a big fan of intelligent hip-hop like Metermaids, Kendrick Lamar and Aesop Rock, also.
     
    I tend to like headphones that are all-around performers, this generally means a balanced or neutral sound. I somehow never manage to have much money, so I don’t want to buy infinity headphones to switch between my myriad genres that I play. I can hear all the way down to 10hz and all the way up to 23Khz—these are what I’ve heard doing test tones on headphones.  It has been a long time since I had a test with an audiologist. I’m sensitive to peaky treble but do enjoy smooth extended treble. I like deep rich tight bass and impactful drums, and dislike upper midbass emphasis.  I like my vocals crisp, so stay away from Josh Tillman’s voice you nasty upper midbass hump.  I hear soundstage better than just about anything I identify in music, but my words haven’t caught up to my ears. I listen at volume levels that others consider loud (72 to 75 dB), but I just set it to where the dynamics peak. I’m not here to shatter my eardrums. I like them just how they are.
     
    I don’t believe in using EQ, not even for inexpensive headphones, especially in reviews. I won’t claim that I haven’t done it, but I generally try to avoid it.
     
    I’m a firm believer that cables can make a difference, but I don’t think they always do. When I tried out Toxic Cables line, none of them had labels and the cheapest looking one was the one I liked the best. I was excited that I wouldn’t have to spend much to improve my sound. It turned out that the cheapest looking one was the Silver/Gold top of the line cable. I’ve heard the difference that USB cables can make, from upgrading from the crappy cable that came with my Geek Out 1000 to a Supra USB, and then again when upgrading to the LH Labs Lightspeed 2G with the iUSB3.0. When I picked up a cheap shielded power lead from Mains Cables R Us to replace my standard kettle lead on my amplifier, I heard more crunchy and clearer treble. I switched the leads with my wife blinded and she heard the same difference. I didn’t tell her what I heard and let her describe it herself. But cables don’t always make a difference. When I switched from my standard HD650 cable to a custom balanced cable (Custom Cans UK, very affordable), the sound stayed exactly the same when hooked up via a top tier (custom made by @dill3000 silver/gold) 4-pin XLR to 6.3mm converter. Balanced mode made a difference in clarity and blackness of background. Your mileage may vary and you may not hear a difference, but I have.

     

    Manufacturer Specifications

    I’ve decided after a bit of reading around that @Brooko is right, if a manufacturer provides specs, we should list them. I’m not convinced that specs are always accurate, or that specs even matter on many headphones. Plenty of headphones don’t sound like their measurements, for better or worse.
     
    Here are the specs for the Meze Headphones 99 Classics from Meze Headphones' website:
     
    Transducer size
    40mm
    Frequency response
    15Hz - 25KHz
    Sensitivity
    103dB at 1KHz, 1mW
    Impedance
    32Ohm
    Rated input power
    30mW
    Maximum input power
    50mW
    Cable make and material
    Detachable Kevlar OFC cable
    Plug
    3.5mm gold plated
    Weight
    260 gr (9.2 ounces) without cables
    Ear-cups
    Walnut wood

     
    Meze Headphones also provided a frequency chart for the 99 classics:
     
    99-classics-problems-solutions2.jpg
    [​IMG]
    I found that what Meze Headphones represented their headphones as was fairly accurate. Using test-tones from Audiocheck.net I ran through some frequency checks. You need a sampling rate of at least double the frequency to test any given frequency, so I use 16/48 tones. At 16Khz there was plenty of bass still there. At 10Khz, the sound bass was still audible, but very faint. These are definitely high performers on bass extension. I don’t think much of anybody hears up to 25Khz, but I did test these at 23Khz and the tone was still audible. I’ve never heard tones above 23Khz, and most people won’t hear that, so I don’t bother trying. Using my SPL meter, I found that roll-off on treble starts at about 16Khz. The dip before and then peak at 5Khz is audible on some tracks—we’ll return to that later.

     

    Form & Function

    The Meze 99 Classics come with a smorgasbord of goodness when it comes to form and function. They are dead sexy looking, and come with two cables in separate lengths (a shorter cable with microphone, and a longer one without), an airline adaptor, a 3.5mm to 6.3mm jack adaptor, a high quality hard-case (with a zipper pouch for carrying accessories), and all of the parts or 100% user serviceable. Meze Audio also used the increasingly popular 3.5mm dual mono connectors for their headphone cable (HiFiMan headphones from 2015 onward, Sennheiser HD700, Oppo PM2, Oppo PM1). This should allow cheap and easy custom cable acquisition for playing these in balanced mode. Pretty dang sweet. I didn’t get to try balanced mode during my demo, but it is an exciting prospect. If I receive the pair after the tour, I’ll update this review with impressions in balanced mode.
     
    The Meze Headphones 99 Classics are likely the most aesthetically beautiful headphones in their price bracket. The dark walnut wood and gold highlights ooze luxury and quality, and you don’t have to be a model on Meze Headphones’ website—there is more make-up in those photos than at a MAC counter—to immediately look more fashionable for wearing them. I hope Sex Bob-omb—
     
    [​IMG]
     
     
    —headphones like these make certain B-words now owned and marketed by rounded corner rectangle slinging fruit merchants rapidly go out of fashion. I want to puke every time I see those cheap plastic crap cannons on anyone’s ears.  Please never get sponsorship from them, Head-Fi.
     
    The pads are made of artificial leather that feels and looks nice enough, but they have a small cup size and are too thin. Now I don’t discriminate on cup size normally, but if something says circumaural in its description, its perimeter better make it around my ears. I think these could go around my 8-month old daughter’s ears, but my 8 year old nephew might have some problems. My average size 34 year-old ears make the 99 Classics fall strictly in the supra-aural category. I found that the headphones built pressure on my ears over time, with the soreness most notable after removing them, especially on the lower ears for me. It took about two to three hours for this effect to happen. I think the clamping pressure could probably be relieved somewhat by relaxing the metal band tension a bit, but I didn’t want to stretch out headphones on loan to me.  I know it doesn't look as stylish, but I'll take comfort over style—give me bigger earholes and deeper pads.
     
    Isolation is pretty meager with these. Walking next to light traffic there is almost no isolation. They performed well in a quiet office, neither allowing me to hear much sound outside of the music I wanted to listen to and not allowing my neighbours to hear me blasting ‘a little silhouette of a man’ into their consciousness for all time. There was no Wayne’s World head-banging in my 1976 AMC Pacer of an office. My office-mates are not worthy, apparently.
     
    headbanging_waynes_world.gif


    Now for some audiophile content rated M (the headphones are inappropriately sexy):
    Meze99Classics2of14.jpg Careful when opening, this is actually the back of the box
    Meze99Classics3of14.jpg The real front of the box
    Meze99Classics5of14.jpg Side
    Meze99Classics6of14.jpg Other side

     
    Yeah, I know, those were good, but the lede was misleading. Here are the pictures you actually wanted to see:
    Meze99Classics12of14.jpg
    Meze99Classics9of14.jpg Meze99Classics11of14.jpg
    Meze99Classics7of14.jpg Meze99Classics14of14.jpg

     

    Testbed

    The equipment used for technical testing was as follows:
    1. Wensa SPL Meter
    2. iFi Micro iDAC2
    3. iFi Micro iUSB3.0
    4. iFi iPurifier2
    5. 2 LH Labs Lightspeed 2G cables
    6. Meze Audio 99 Classics Headphones
    7. Sennheiser HD600 (panty-hose mod, increases soundstage, removes ‘veil’)
    _1160677.jpg _1160739.jpg

     

    Audio quality

    For most of my impressions I was listening out of the iFi iDAC2 with the iPurifier2 (reviews here and here), but I also did some listening with my LH Labs Geek Out 1000 paired with the iPurifier2. There was never any point where the 99 Classics were under-powered, it only took about 20% volume to power these to loud with the GO 1000. They are remarkably easy to drive. They may be too easy to drive as I think a little bit higher impedance would make some tracks have less distortion on the low end.
     
    These do an excellent job separating out vocal layers. On Fleetwood Mac - Dreams (West German Target pressing) this is especially apparent in the chorus. Each of the three vocalists is distinctly identifiable in space. Well done, Meze Audio, this isn't usually the case. I think these do a little better than the HD600 on this song.
     
    On Eagles - Hotel California (DCC Gold), the jet pan is a little lost in the mix. I think it is due to some emphasis on other parts and the relatively limited soundstage depth. Imaging is generally good, but there isn't very much air around most instruments. There is an average sound stage. Bass sounds a touch warm and thick.
     
    Listening to the new jazz album from Jenny Maybee and Nick Phillips, Haiku, I'm caught off guard in a couple tracks by some dagger sharp piano. I think this may have to do with the 5Khz peak on the frequency response chart. One thing that is interesting about listening to headphones that push some frequencies to extremes, is that you notice peaky parts of recordings you hadn't noticed otherwise. When I switched to the 64Audio ADEL X2 (2 BA ADEL model), the sharp piano was still there, but it was less emphasized and not painful. The same was true with the HD600.
    San Francisco Orchestra - Mahler Symphony Number 8, Part I, IV. Gloria Patri Domino (DSD64) is a great track for looking at vocal extremes and separation. These headphones are very suited to choral work. Absolutely fantastic! The soprano sounds dynamic and vibrant and the other singers are nicely placed and layered. Similarly, Trondheim Solistene - Magnificat, Et Misericordia (24/352.8) has great vocal separation. You can't pick out individual voices in entirety, but the flourishes of individual vocalists pull away from the choir nicely.
     
    On Why - Strawberries the bass is a bit bloomy. It still sounds good and has decent extension (still shows up at 25hz, but doesn't drop as low as this track can go with any authority). The percussion is good but not among the best of headphones I own. It feels a touch slow on transient response. I get more out of my Trinity Audio Atlas IEMs and Echobox Finder X1 IEMs on transient speed and note decay. The slow decay gives a bit of a romantic character to the sound, but I tend to prefer incisive lighter tones.
     
    In another story of revealing characteristics of the headphones, the quality of Regina Spektor's track, Fidelity, is exposed a bit at the beginning when the bass is dropping. There is a little bit of noise in the track that I hadn't really noticed that the Meze 99 Classics amplify a bit. I confirmed it with the HD600 and one of my favourite in ears the 64Audio ADEL X2; it's definitely there. Similar listening on 2Pac – God Bless the Dead, a track I throw in because of its heavy bass and poor mastering that I happen to love, shows that the Meze 99 Classics amplify poorly mastered bass. There is a lot of that going around, especially if you listen to metal music. Not all headphones make that poorly mastered bass as apparent. I think that higher impedance would probably remove some of the amplification of bad bass noise, but I didn’t have an adapter to test that during the time I had them. If I get them again, I’ll test the effect of higher impedance. Proceed with care.

     

    Conclusions

    These have stunning vocals, beautiful design, premium feel, great accessories; some treble fatigue, unforgiving of noise in the low end of recordings, bass thick but not very textured, overall thickness to sound from bass, cup size not big enough (that's right I said it), and can cause ear soreness due to small pad size and clamping. I think that these compete well with the OPPO PM3 for best work headphone, but I find the OPPOs a little cleaner on sound and more comfortable on the ears. Both headphones have amazing mids, and warm bass.
     
    I had thought these would be easy to get a balanced cable, but I was mistaken, 2.5mm mono jacks are common on headphones, but not 3.5mm. The best route for Meze would be to manufacture their own balanced cables, but reterminating the stock cable is another option. Since it comes with two cables, this shouldn't be too much difficulty.
    One potential advantage that I haven't got to hear on these is the ease of getting a balanced cable. These have the now ubiquitous mono 3.5mm dual jacks (HiFiMan HE1000, HiFiMan HE-X, HiFiMan 400i and 400s circa 2016, Sennheiser HD700, Oppo PM1, Oppo PM2) so balanced cables are easily available. If I owned any of those headphones, I would have been able to do a balanced shoot-out between the HD600 and the Meze 99 Classics using the LH Labs Geek Pulse X-Infinity. It would have been exciting. Maybe if I win these at the end of the tour I can update my review.
    1. reddog
      A sweet review, liked that you used some Fleetwood Mac, for your audio.
      reddog, Mar 26, 2016
    2. glassmonkey
      Thanks, reddog! I try to use a variety of tracks, but Fleetwood Mac, Queen, Pink Floyd, and Roger Waters are probably my heaviest rotation. Though the new City of the Sun album is going to be moving into that territory really soon. :)
      glassmonkey, Mar 29, 2016
    3. jinxy245
      Great review.... Very enjoyable read.... Love the musical rotation, I'll have to check out City of the Sun.
      (...and reddog is always good for a kind word!)
      jinxy245, Mar 29, 2016
  3. Army-Firedawg
    Beautiful in both body and sound
    Written by Army-Firedawg
    Published Mar 23, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Amazing warm non fatiguing sound, respectably affordable, user serviceable
    Cons - metal frame slightly too tight (but may stretch over time)
                                                                                     20160321_211706.jpg
     
     
        When first beginning my time with this unit I honestly never thought that it’d give my go to Bowers & Wilkins P7 a run for their money like they did but whew. These beauties really aren’t just good looking let me tell you that.  Before I begin this adventure I need to give a large thanks to @Mezeteam for approving me into this tour. I’ve been wanting to hear this ever since I first seen their design and the wait was most certainly worth it. So again Meze I thank you for my time with these was truly enjoyed and not just me either; many at the Carolina CanFest 5 found tremendous enjoyment out of these as well! But enough pleasantries, let’s dive into this shall we?
     
     I'm a 25 year old firefighter currently for the U.S. Army North Carolina National Guard. I was formerly a civilian firefighter in Kentucky with the Millard Fire Department before I enlisted and moved to my current location in Charlotte, North Carolina. My current goal is to begin my career again in the civilian fire service, and yes, I am the cliché of wanting to do that since as far as I can remember.
        My interests/hobbies are powerlifting, fishing and relaxing to audio products and reviewing them to help other decide on what products would work for them. On that note over the years I've really came to an understanding of what it is I like and look for in audio products.
        What I look for is a relaxing, warm and sensual sound that just drifts me away in the emotional experience of the music being performed. Yes, accuracy is still important but I will happily sacrifice that if I'm presented with a clean, warm sound that can wisp me away into an experience that makes me yearn for more.
        My ideal signature are that of respectably forward mids and upper bass range with the bass being controlled but with some slight decay. I like my treble to have great extension and detail reveal but I don't like artificial treble in order to achieve that. Examples of products that have given me chills and keep giving me the yearning for more feels are the Bowers & Wilkins P7, Oppo PM-1/2, Empire Ears Hermes VI, Audeze LCD-XC, Meze Headphones 99 Classics & Stax SR009.
     
          20160321_212234.jpg       20160321_212704.jpg       20160321_212403.jpg
     
     
    The Opening Experience
     
    For those who don’t know me, I’m a stickler for the unboxing experience. For to me this represents a company extending their hand out to introduce themselves. Perhaps it’s my Kentucky background who knows, but I believe wholeheartedly in delivering a firm handshake and introducing yourself with confidence and pride.
        It’s extremely rare that a consumer has the opportunity to meet with the people behind the brand you’re purchasing. So in my opinion a product that shows pride and is displayed professionally and with confidence (i.e. not bogged down with useless jargon) that’s a huge plus for me and is representative of receiving a firm handshake. I’ve met some fine people in my life that are very successful but have a very limp handshake, and even knowing their background I’m disappointed and bored everytime we initially meet and it takes them a while for me to get interested in what they have to offer.
        In the case of the Meze Headphones 99 Classics, from the outer box they score respectably to me. The front and sides of the box are exactly what I look for, they let my mind wonder into what these really look like, sound like and feel like. The box is well made and feels nice and the sides are equally teasing with only a frequency graph to lure me in a little more. And then there’s the back. I kinda relate these to romance time with your significant other, they’re in their sexiest outfit and building you up and despite knowing what they look like the build up just makes it much better. Then mid way into the build up they just drop everything suddenly. Again you know that what you were going to see is beautiful but there’s no need to rush things.
        That analogy describes the outer box of the 99 Classics perfectly. Everything builds up to you slowly opening the box and unveiling the treasure underneath but then when you check out the back NOPE DENIED. There it is with a whole buncha words, phrases and quotes about the perfection of these and other hype builders of these. Actually on that note,before I dive deeper I HATE that word. For there is NO such thing as perfect and I find that a little a bit arrogant to insignifi such. But I digress
        As I finally open the box I’m now greeted with a very nice presentation of the molded case that shapes to the headphones and gold colored Meze logo. Upon lifting the quite hard case up I’m enjoying the very nice curves of the case that outline the headphones inside beautifully. While unzipping the case, you begin to see the beautifully crafted art work that lies underneath and once the restrictive article is fully opened the artwork underneath truly is stunning.
        Real walnut wood cups and all aluminum framework makes these one of the most visually striking headphones I’ve ever seen. They possess a real nice weight to them that’s not heavy, but enough to feel sturdy in my hands. Also included is two very high quality cables (1 microphones mobile cable and 1 6’ standard cable), an airplane adaptor and a ¼” adaptor.
        So, was I given a memorable opening experience to the Meze Headphones 99 Classics? You better darn believe it!
     
    20160321_211824.jpg    20160321_212150.jpg
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Construction
     
    As I say in most of my reviews, this is an aspect that I feel is often overlooked; even amongst high end headphones. What’s the use of listening to audio nirvana if it only lasts one session? I touched on this in the previous section but the 99 Classics are build beautifully well. Real wood ear cups add an very nice and natural feel without any give. The aluminum (correction: It's actually spring steel) frame is rugged but has enough give as to not snap if accidental pressure is applied. The cords are well braided and very tangle resistant and what's more they’re detachable, so heaven forbid one becomes frayed you can very easily either buy another from their website or even an upgraded aftermarket cable. So I’ve no concern in my mind with regards to the longevity of the Meze 99 Classics. These should easily last you many years and countless hours or musical bliss, treated properly of course.
     
                                                                                                                                20160321_211805.jpg
     
    Comfort
     
        Now onto the thing I look for second most only to audio quality, and that’s how long can I comfortably wear these without having to adjust or worse remove them? Very little is more irritating than finding that great song but being unable to enjoy it because the gear you’re using to too uncomfortable and does nothing but distract from the piece being performed.
        In the case of the 99 Classics I find them to be acceptable but not perfect in this regard. The frame provides a decent amount of clamping force to my head that granted, I believe will stretch to my size over time (correction: due to the nature of spring steel it's highly unlikely the metal will give any contour), but until then it pushes just a little too much that added with the slightly too small ear cups (that also is subjective because my ears are above normal size) reduces my listening time to roughly 2 hours before I have to take a break from using them.
        If you didn’t notice I used the word “little” intentionally more than is necessary to show that it’s not a horrible thing but only a minor adjustment I feel to make these a top contender headphone in every aspect. Because the headband is wonderfully comfortable as is the memory foam ear pads, but just those two things combined was just what was needed to take away from them hitting the bullseye.
     
    EDIT: Meze has since sent me new, larger, ear pads that have made these freaking incredible and was exactly what it needed to send it to a top tier product regardless of ones price. Now, as of this moment I'm unsure if the larger pads now come standard with purchase of the 99 Classics or if you have to purchase those separately. if available standard, the rating of this product will be escalated to a 5. If not the scoring will remain the same but with this note.
     
    EDIT UPDATE: The larger earpads do in fact come standard with the Meze Headphones 99 Classics now.
        
                                                                                                                                  20160321_211924_HDR.jpg
     
     
    Sound
     
        Hey, looky here we finally made it to the important stuff, the sound quality. Arguably the most important aspect of an audio piece is how well does it not just reproduce the audio signal but how does it relay and appeal that to the listener?
        For those who know and share my tastes in audio (check out my about me if you don’t) will, like me, find great enjoyment out of the 99 Classics. The overall sound signature is beautifully warm and hits me in all the right places and REALLY give my BW P7 a run for their money of my favorite consumer priced headphone!
        The sense of depth is incredible especially for these to be closed back! They provide a nice lifelike sound that is unlike anything I’ve ever heard (in this price range) and the only thing I can contribute with this is the wooden back. But allow me to diverge this a little better so that you can better understand how I come up with this overview.
     
    Treble
     
        The highs on these are pretty darn nice. They extend out but they do peak a little early. They reflect a lot of detail leaving me feeling satisfied and with plenty of energy. It is by no means at all fatiguing and in fact is quite relaxing. The only real downside I’ve found with the treble on the 99 Classics is that there’s a very notable dip in the mid to upper frequency range. It’s very small and doesn’t last long at all but it is very easily heard. Wanna hear it without having to focus on it? Play the song “Colour of the Moon” by Allan Taylor.
     
    Mids
     
    MIds are my personal favorite aspect of an audio piece for to me they represent the soul a given piece of gear possesses. The mids are where the vocals are and it’s the vocals that hold the artist's emotions and feelings that they’re trying to portray to the audience. I want to hear that, no, I want to feel that. And if a headphone doesn’t reproduce this range well then I’m left feeling empty and very unsatisfied with what I’m hearing.
    When it comes to the 99 Classics I couldn’t have less of a complaint to make. The mid range is truly breathtaking throughout the entire range. The vocals have a realism to them that as I said earlier is unlike anything I’ve ever heard (in this price point). I really feel as if the artist is singing to me personally in a comfortable jazz club setting with very nice acoustics. Regardless if it’s male or female vocals I’m listening to I’m provided a great sense of body with a very welcomed touch of warmth that without continuously rambling on, is something that I will truly miss when I send these off.
     
    Bass
     
        The bass, the heartbeat of the music. This section is one that I’m most afraid of hearing for all too often a product will be almost spot on in every other category but because bass is what’s in right now they will pump up the thump to appeal that. Well, though bass is nice to have, I AM NOT a bass head and little turns me off quicker than an overly bass heavy thump machine that dilutes everything around it.
        This fortunately is not the case with the 99 Classics. These, though a slight bass emphasis, are very pleasant to listen to and have a very sensual presentation to its impact. The bass is well controlled but does possess an exaggerated decay that really meshes well with the overall signature of the headphone. The upper bass blends beautifully into the mid section and could be easily confused with each other.
     
                                                                                                          20160321_212543.jpg
     
     
     
    Conclusion
     
        So to sum up my thoughts on the Meze Headphones 99 Classics. I really loved pretty much everything about these. They hit home to me in almost every aspect, the sound is exactly what I look for and has become one of my all time favorite headphones. The warmth they consistently provide in non fatiguing and always leave me longing for a repeat performance.
        The build quality is absolutely top notch and the no glue construction makes these very user serviceable and much sturdier. If properly taken care of I can easily see these lasting a user many MANY years.  
     
    Also, don’t forget to check out my unboxing and review videos. As well as my 2016 Army-Firedawg product of the year video! I really appreciate it and let me know what you think, if the review helped you don’t forget to hit that thumbs up button. Till next time my friends, stay safe.
     
     
      Bert, Raptor34, HungryPanda and 4 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Army-Firedawg
      @stellablues Please do follow up (in PM preferably comments NEVER give me any notifications so it may be a while before I check) for I'd love to hear your take on them.
       
      @Bansaku DUDE!!!!! Appreciate the insight that's very helpful, I'll update where I can with the info. But that's quite unfortunate though, I mean it's not super tight but it bending to the owners size is something I was looking forward too. BUT as I said it's not toooo much but JUST a little. 
      Army-Firedawg, Mar 24, 2016
    3. Beagle
      Nice phones but the dodgy fit, overcooked bass and ringing metal headband take it out of the running for me
      Beagle, Mar 24, 2016
    4. Army-Firedawg
      @Beagle That's unfortunate, I understand about the fit but hey not every headphones is everyone's glass of YooHoo (best strawberry mild ever of a personal side note). What kinda phones have you tried that you've really enjoyed?
      Army-Firedawg, Mar 28, 2016
  4. Amuro_Rey
    A suprise for a headset of this cost !
    Written by Amuro_Rey
    Published Mar 20, 2016
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Excellent build quality , good materials and assembly, warm sound with good detail
    Cons - The pads is very hot after some times of useing and the sound losese impact with high volume
    Meze 99 Classics is a very surprising headset !
    When I received it a few days ago and I opened the box I was surprised by what he managed to do Meze especially knowing the selling price of this headset
    The box was fantastic, the hard case, the little box with a pair of cable and some jacks, very very good
    The 99 is not so little headset, and yes a portable headset but is one that is not possible to bend like many others on the market, the headband is a really surprise, the elastic control system for the head is very good, the wood pads are very well, a little small in my opinion and this is also because with the use I noticed that quite warm the ears
    The headset is still very light and easy to carry
    A very plus is the detachable cable, so you can take or use other cable and the other good news it’s that the cable uses a mini-jack to the pads
    Here perhaps I preferred assets in the accessories also provided with a standard jack cable
    We come to the sound , we say that is a headset that requires the famous burn in before playing them in a serious way. The sound after burn in changes significantly and becomes much more natural
    This headset has a warm sound very amazing warm sound, but at the same time has a shade of high sound beautiful and detail, the mids are warm and natural , a wide sound stage for a closed headphone
    For me it was a real surprise as sound for headphones in this category, sure can’t be a LCD-X category headset, but in his class of price is a really BEST !
    The bass is not so deep like a LCD-X but is the best part of this headset, and It’s not so present as to overpower the rest of the sound and the division of the instruments is fairly clear-cut
    All so positive ?
    No, the perfect headset does not yet unfortunately , and this 99 I noticed that with the increase of the volume (Burson Virtuoso) lost a little in the presence of the sound, with increasing volume high frequencies take, for my taste, too much the upper hand and against the low frequencies tend to flatten slightly by losing body to the sound
    The sound continues to be great anyway for that little baby, but still loses something
    In conclusion, we say it is a headset built in great way, with a packaging and accessories supplied above average and that if used to listen to moderate / low volume will give you great satisfaction
    GOOD work Meze !
      MezeTeam likes this.
    1. Bansaku
      Nice review. Question though, what do you consider moderate volume?
      Bansaku, Mar 20, 2016
    2. Amuro_Rey
      With my Burson Virtuoso a "moderate" volume is 20/22
      After that the 99 lost a little of bass presence
      My LCD-X can rise high till 35/38 and the sound continue to be "full", yes the LCD-X and the 99 is not to be compared
      Amuro_Rey, Mar 20, 2016
  5. phonomat
    A great, non-fatiguing headphone
    Written by phonomat
    Published Mar 20, 2016
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Great sound, relaxed, warm, not in the least fatiguing, yet detailed
    Cons - Slight issues with overall build quality
    Caveat: This is my first review. Meze has been so kind as to provide me with this headphone. I'm not professional, I'm not an audiophile, just an enthusiastic hobbyist who likes to listen to (mostly instrumental electronic) music. I'm also not an English native speaker. Sorry!
     
    Well, with over 20 reviews, what is there to add? Not much, I'm afraid. By now, most of what's important about this headphone has been said and it's more a matter of underlining certain already well-covered aspects from my personal angle and experience.
     
    First of all, I have headphones in my possession that are many times as expensive as the Meze 99 Classics which retail for $309,- at the moment (my Pioneer SE-Master 1 costs almost eight times as much), and I have to shamefully admit that, currently, I reach for the Meze more often than not, which is mainly due to two reasons:
     
    • This can rocks! Head-noddingly, foot-tappingly rocks! I found that after the first couple of minutes they just got out of the way and let me enjoy the music, probably more so than other, more scrutinizing 'phones which sometimes tempt me to listen to the headphone rather than the music. I happen to think that this is a great character trait for a listening device. Are they very neutral? Are they analytical? Not, rather veeeery smooth and therefore
       
    • I can listen to them hours and hours … and hours and hours … on end without experiencing any fatigue whatsoever, which is more than I can say for certain "flagship" phones (yes, I'm looking at you, Fostex TH-900!).
     
     
    Sound
     
    I found that the Meze 99 Classics strike just the right balance between warmth and detail. While the aforementioned headphones and others that I've heard like the infamous Sennheiser HD 800 indubitably offer better resolution and microdetail, they tend to achieve that effect at the cost of a certain warmth or smoothness, resulting in a sound that, broadly speaking, can at times be perceived as harsh. Not so the Meze: Its highs are smooth as peanut butter (well, the smooth kind, not the crunchy kind). If you, like me, are sensitive to high frequencies or even happen some kind of tinnitus which is aggravated by those, this can be a godsend!
    The mids are just there (which I mean as compliment; there is nothing that bothers me in that section, nothing at all – neither do they feel overly recessed nor are they too present; just nothing off here), and the bass …
    Mmm, that bass! It's very warm, almost cozy, like you can wrap yourself in it as you would in a soft, cuddly blanket. While I guess there is a slight mid-bass hump, they amount of bass (for me at least, and I like me some bass) is just right, and it never sounds aggressive or too muchn in-your-face. Now, it may not be as clean as that of the Fostex TH-900, for example, but again, that headphone costs five times as much and is renowned for its bass qualities, so you would expect some differences. I just mention it because I have it readily available. With the Meze, the texture can be a tad soft here and there, a little less sharply contoured and precise; it's almost as if the manufacturer's emphasis lay on a warm enveloping sound signature. Funnily enough, this does not disturbe me in the leat, but I guess it is something to be aware of. This headphone is certainly south of neutral, with a warm yet punchy sound sig. It's probably closer to mid-fi than to summit-fi, and if you're looking for absolute fidelity, well, I guess you'll have to keep looking, but to my ears, they sound agreeably warm and smooth with a very nice, solid bass foundation that fits my preferred music genre like a glove.
    Also, don't get me wrong: The resolution the 99 Classics offer may not compete with some flagships out there, but even if it is not world class, it is certainly no less than great great among its price class:
     
     
    (Very) Brief comparison
     
    To compare it to two headphones in its own league, I like it better than the Ultrasone Pro 900 which, though having prodigious bass, can sound much more bright to the point of being annoying. Some swear by the Pro 900's soundstage, others not so much; I think this is due to Ultrasone's S-Logic technic working better for some listeners than for others. All in all, this aspect of the Pro 900 feels more finicky, while the 99 Classics are more relying and will just deliver in this regard.
    At the other end of the spectrum, there is the Audioquest Nighthawk, which retails for as much as $599,- or thereabouts and also has a warm sound signature, but to the point of sounding closed-in, constricted, mushy, bloated and veiled to my ears, all of which the Meze just does not. So if you have been eyeing the Nighthawk, give the 99 Classics a try first, and you might be able to save some money and get a superior headphone with a similar signature that will not polarize as much. It's just great value for money.
     
     
    Cons
     
    Those have been tackled extensively as well: Yes, the cups are a little small, which does not bother me, however, since my ears fit in them without a problem and they're nonetheless comfortable enough for longterm use (and this is where I see them in my repertoire: as a great headphone for long sessions that just won't get uncomfortable, neither comfort-wise nor sound-wise).
    My biggest issue by far are the cables. What's the problem? Well, let me put it this way: One comes with a microphone, both come with microphonics. I know this has been mentioned before, but even having read the previous reviews, I have to say that I was somewhat surprised by the degree to which this annoyed me. While I initially thought that this might be a great can to use on the go, I'm not so sure anymore, since even sitting down I'm somewhat bothered by the sounds the cable makes during quiet music passages when I turn my head and it chafes on my sweater, for example. This will happen alle the more easily since the connectors are not angled but directed in a way that they're pointing straight down so that contact with one's body/clothes is almost inevitable. Also, tapping on the headband while wearing the headphone will make it resonate very audibly. While this is something that is less likely to happen IRL, the cable microphonics are really bothersome and an alternative solution should be found. It's quite a shame really, since the Meze's sound is so very enjoyable otherwise.
    All in all, I have to take these issues in consideration when judging the build quality of this headphone and say that while I am impressed by the sound, I'm not with the overall quality. There are also some minor chips in the wood, but since I haven't reveived the 99 Classics fresh out of the box, I cannot judge on how they have been treated before being relaeses into my care and how easily this will happen.
     
     
    Summary
     
    All in all, this is a very enjoyable, very comfortable headphone with great sound -- relaxed, warm, not in the least fatiguing, yet detailed --, great value for money and unfortunately less than stellar build quality, but still very decent for what you pay. If you don't plan to take it outside, I'd wholeheartedly recommend that you take a listen to this fine creation by Meze.
     
    *This being my first review, I'd be very open to and grateful for any suggestions and criticism. Thanks, everybody!*
      Wilashort likes this.
  6. swnger
    Step out design with sonic quality to match Outstanding Value
    Written by swnger
    Published Mar 19, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Beautiful visual design First class construction materials natural sonics
    Cons - Ear cups could be a little bigger for full over the ear effect
    I'm not an absolutist.  I think a product should be reviewed from the view point of claims made for the product and the value that in represents to the user.
     
    Judging  the Mezze 99 Classics on those factors It's a purely outstanding product offering.  If your the kind of person that likes to read the first two lines of a review then hop over to the Meze site and give them your hard earned cash.  You wont be sorry.
     
    Want some more torture?  Please read on.
     
    I always get a big charge out of the unboxing Videos on YouTube.  They seem to be a voyeuristic guilty pleasure, kind of shoppers porno.  I wouldn't usually include packaging in a review for a product but I think Meze's packaging for the Classic 99 is well done.  I'm often a "B" stock buyer I think the company has had a second chance at making the product right so as you can see the white "B" box can work for me.
    Classic99boxfront.jpg
     
    Box Front   Simple classic
    Classic99boxback.jpg

    I think the line at the bottom of the back of the Box tells the story " Perfect natural sound Perfect natural Fit" 
    Classic99caseinbox.jpg
    The nicely done zippered semi-hard head phone storage case that contains the Meze 99 classic's and accessories.  The accessories come in a convenient separate zippered case
     
    classic99incase.jpg
    Meze99Acc.jpg
    The accessories pouch contains both wires standard and one with a microphone and remote control.  Airplane adapter and 1/4 inch head phone adapter.
     
    The package with the Meze Classic 99 is first rate.  So is the construction of the headphones.  Made with metal and wood they have a natural and substantial feel to them. 
    Classic99sideview.jpg
    Classic99headband.jpg
    Classic99frontview.jpg

    All you have to do is grab the ear cups spread the spring steel tension bars and place them on your ears and your ready to listen.  Comfortable, simple, with just the right tension. I have large ears so they touch my ear lobes but I don't find it objectionable.  Would it be better if my lobes fit inside.  Yes but this isn't a deal breaker for me.  I have several hours of listening to them under my belt and I find them comfortable.
     
    After all this I'm sure you're asking " Swnger for heavens sake what the heck do these things sound like?" 
     
    I don't have a desk full of Amps Headphones DACs but have decided to do the listening with a simple rig that you can put together for under $1000 including the Meze Classic 99.
    Classic99testrig.jpg

    The test rig consists of the Meze Classic 99 $309 , The Fiio X5 2nd Gen $349 and The Fiio K5 desk top amp and docking station $110  total $768
     
    I've been an audiophile since 1983 and one thing I've learned is that lots of audio gear gives you very little sonic improvement for extreme dollars.  I'm a vinyl guy with over 1000 Eps that I have ported over to Hi Rez in the last 10 years.  I also have an extensive collection on CD and Hi Rez downloads.  That being said I'm all about the music and not a total gear head.
     
    To prepare  the Meze Classic 99 for this review a burned in the headphones with over 40 hours of pink noise that I got from the Dr.Chesky  ultimate headphone Demo down load. Those 40 hours were torture.  I wanted to play with my new toy. Finally the moment of truth arrived and I put the Meze Classics over my ears and I started:
     
    First selection was Chilly Gonzales  " Chambers"  Piano and strings on tap.  Natural' engaging with clean attack and decay on both the strings and piano.  Satisfying acoustic realism. Showed Chilly's special touch on the piano delicate with an underling sense of power.
     
    Ella and Louis were up next.  Ella's voice like cream Louis voice like gravel on "Can't we be Friends" So strong mid range. Louis trumpet sole clean clear. lovely upper mid range.
    "Under a blanket of blue"  good drive in the bass line solid.  Mid bass good.
     
    How about James Browns " Mans world"  Good separation in the complex back ground so good definition  "Make it Funky" Super reproduction on the funky bass line. Hammond organ shuffling nicely.
     
    Daf Punk "Lose yourself to dance"  Solid dance bass line,  Channel  good separation for EDM .  Guitar drive very clean.
     
    John Barry "Diamonds are forever"  If your looking to see how things handle horns James Bond is the place to look.  The Meze Classic 99 handle the dynamics of this album very well. The strings and lush full and resolved..  The waltz "Circus Circus "  shows the violin and bells with good treble.
     
    Lets go for deep sub bass.  Boys Noize  Octave Mind  electronica deep bass hard for any thing to reproduce.  very well done can feel it in the tip of my toes.
     
    In Conclusion
    $309 No brainer.  I think the Meze Classic 99 punches well above its weight class in every way.  Like I said in line two it's a buy it.
      robbi22 likes this.
    1. Bansaku
      Nice objective review! Too bad you are a "pink noise" type of guy. Personally I enjoy hearing the transformation of the sound during burn-in.
      Bansaku, Mar 20, 2016
    2. swnger
      I'm not a total Pink noise guy, but last week was busy and I wanted to give the headphones a fair review.  So Pinked them.  Made a nice improvement in the sonics from when I took them out of the box. Yes I would have liked to hear the progression.
      swnger, Mar 21, 2016
  7. buffer
    A fun headphone with punchy midbass and a forward midrange
    Written by buffer
    Published Mar 18, 2016
    3.5/5,
    Pros - punchy midbass, open midrange, fleshed out vocals, reasonably good clarity
    Cons - over-emphasized midbass, tonal balance not completely neutral
    Summary
    The Meze 99 classics is an interesting headphone. So often I hear people characterize a headphone as fun, and I usually object to that characterization. After all, shouldn't all headphones be fun to listen to? But in this case I believe 'fun' is a perfect word to describe the Meze 99. Whether you like them or not is going to depend on your expectation. If you are looking for a neutral audiophile headphone with perfect tonal balance and absolute clarity, then look elsewhere. These headphones will not provide an 'audiophile' experience. But before I go more into the sound lets touch on some other points.
     
    Boxing and Packaging
    The box is not overly fancy but it is easy to access everything you need and easy to open and close. Within the box is the headphone case. At first, I thought the shape to be a bit odd. But it holds the headphones secure and comfortably, as well as the cables and other accessories. I think the packaging, therefore, strikes the proper balance of form and function. More extravagant and the price would probably start to rise.
     
    Ergonomics and general appearance.
    I'm a fan of wood headphones. I own many. It's really a matter of taste. The look of the headphone is good enough, but not quite my taste. That said, the quality of the build appears to be very good. The headphone I tried had no creeks, the wood appears to be real, and the fit and finish is excellent.
     
    I do like my headphone cups to swivel just a bit and the design of the Meze does not allow for that, though there is enough flex in the metal support portion of the headband to allow for a snug fit, without exhorting too much clamping pressure.
     
    When I place the headphone over my head I must pull the cups downward slightly each time for proper coverage over my ears. There is no memory with this design. One other comment. The headphone does not have a left and right channel per se. It is symmetric so the way you connect the cable will determine left and right channels. I do not see that as a positive or negative, I'm just attempting to be thorough in my description. What I do perceive in a slightly negative way is the pad size. As many have pointed out, the pads are not really over the ear. I consider my ears pretty average in size and while the headphone is not uncomfortable, the opening in the pads does not surround my ears. The headphone sits over top part of my ear lobes.
     
    The Sound
    I would characterize the overall sound to be bottom up ...that is, more focused on the mid to lower frequencies. The midrange is open sounding and the overall balance of frequencies feel pretty cohesive in the way they blend.
     
    Bass
    The bass is not neutral in quantity. There is a bass emphasis. I would describe the bass as full sounding, if not a slight bit plump. It is extremely punchy and of good quality. It also goes pretty deep, but certainly not the deepest I've heard. I feel the mid-bass is reasonably tight and tuneful, and I don't necessarily feel that it bleeds into the mid-range, though I could see where some may disagree.  I do feel, however, that depending on the music, the bass/mid-bass can overpower the other frequencies a bit. For example, on Godsmack (pretty much any album of theirs) where you have deep drum hits in combination with bass guitar and other lower frequencies the midbass appears to be too much and can rob the headphone of some clarity. I am no basshead, but I must admit the punchiness of the bass/mid-bass is something to behold and respect.
     
    Midrange
    The midrange is neither dark or bright (certainly not shouty). But I do feel there is an emphasis in the midrange. If you like a somewhat forward sound and you like fully fleshed out vocals, you will be pleased with the midrange of the Meze. It does vocals pretty well, though if you are sensitive to coloration you may be slightly less pleased. I myself like fully fleshed out vocals and enjoyed that aspect of the Meze. Because of the quantity and character of the midbass I feel the headphone is on the warm side.  But the midrange is open and possesses slightly forward vocals.  This provides a nice degree of clarity ….that is until the midbass becomes overbearing. Of course, many songs don't have lots of midbass and when that's the case the midbass is not prevalent so the midbass does not always overpower the midrange. It really depends on the music. While I cannot exactly put my finger on it, I would say that the upper mids start to fade into a treble that is less pronounced than the other frequencies. More on the treble in a minute.
     
    Clarity
    This headphone is reasonably clear sounding in all frequencies. But, in absolute terms, I certainly would not describe the headphone as crystal clear. In fact, I think from a driver technology standpoint, I suspect the driver is not the clearest or cleanest. There are probably many headphones, even at this pricepoint, that could compete in detail retrieval and clarity. The forward more intimate and fleshed out vocals help to paint the illusion of clarity. But other frequencies may be partially masked by this subtle coloration. I don't want to leave folks with the impression that the headphone is not clear. It is satisfyingly clear, but it certainly does not rival the best in this regard. Incidentally, in addition to vocals, I believe the Meze does piano pretty good.
     
    My Comparisons
    While I am it, I should have mentioned something. I'm an audiophile. I appreciate many different perspectives. I like warmer headphones, brighter ones, neutral ones, and others that might be defined as euphonic, but my preference is for a natural sound that is full-bodied, rich, impactful, and clear. I probably prefer a slightly brighter upper midrange and I do not like “V” shaped sound. I prefer neutrality overall, and possibly a slightly forward midrange with a slight sparkle in the treble. Tonal balance and cohesiveness through out the frequency spectrum is important to me. Furthermore, I do not like a 'dry' sound. When I do a compare headphones, I disregard price. So as I am comparing the Meze, please realize that I am comparing it to my standards and to the absolute best headphones I have heard. I have heard many of the flagships and I am not taking price into consideration when I comment on the Meze.
     
    Ok, on to a discussion of treble...
     
    The treble does not call attention to itself. I don't necessarily feel the treble lacking in quantity or rolling off but I don't hear that sparkle either. I believe between the mids and the treble, the headphone lacks a bit of 'air'. That said, I find the treble to be easy to listen to and of reasonably good quality. It's just not as forward as the other frequencies.
     
    Texture and Timbre
    Not exceptional, but not bad either. I was pleased, though I wasn't necessarily as musically engaged listening to the headphone as some others. I find sometimes I feel like that when the headphones lacks life-like realism. So while I enjoyed the punchiness (some of the punchiest midbass I've heard) and the open and forward mids, I think the slight lack of resolving power and slightly unnatural tonal balance, for me, detracted from the enjoyment just a bit. But again, I feel compelled to point out that my preferences are my own and others looking for different traits may be very pleased. In a nutshell, I think texture and timbre of voices and instruments is very good, and enjoyable but not quite as good as the best 'audiophile' headphones I've heard.
     
    Soundstage / Imaging
    The soundstage is a reasonable size. It did not leave me wanting. It's not the smallest or largest I've heard. If anything it added to the enjoyment rather than being a negative. Imaging was also fairly precise and I have no complaints in this area.
     
     
    Disclaimer, Music and Equipment
    I saved this for last, but if you are interested and still reading I thought I'd share a little bit. I listen to all kinds of music. I listen to dance, jazz, easy listening, rock, classic rock, and orchestral. My experience for this review is based on a loaner I received. I do not own the Meze headphones and have been guaranteed nothing, except the opportunity to hear them in an exchange for my honest review. So my listening time has been limited to about a week, or slightly less. I did listen to all kinds of music during this time. I enjoyed all types through the Meze but I do not feel I listened sufficiently to provide credible in-depth analysis of what genres work best for the headphone. I think it's fair to say that my opinions were present, regardless of genre.
     
    For the headphone amps, I used Grado Labs, JDS Labs, the Cavalli Liquid Carbon, a Behringer DAC/headphone output, a Denon DCD 1290 CD player and an Emotiva CD player. I used both balance and single ended as the source. I cannot recall with certainty, but I believe I also used my MicroZotl 2 tube amplifier. As you can tell, I did not take studious notes while listening. I do not log the songs and minutes and seconds as I know some do. I try to enjoy myself while listening and so my impressions are based on my overall listening experience to the headphones.
     
    Would I buy these?
    I think these headphones are an excellent value. I did enjoy listening to them, but at this point my preferences are such that they wouldn't be on the top of my list of headphones to purchase. That said, they have distinct qualities that would make a great addition to my stable of headphones and I would not hesitate to recommend this headphone to others so long as they understand going into the purchase that this is not an 'audiophile' $1000+ headphone. If you like midbass punch, strong midbass, an open midrange with good clarity, and fully fleshed out vocals and a forward midrange, then I have no doubt this headphone will be just what you are looking for and should bring years of satisfying listening pleasure.
     
    My rating and experience with other headphones
    I mentioned that when rating headphones I am basing my criteria in absolute terms. I would say these Meze Classics deliver great value. But in absolute terms I would rate them 3.5 stars. I would reserve 4 stars for the more audiophile phones (not necessarily correlating to cost) that deliver neutrality and excel on most all attributes I find important. Most all headphones are imperfect so very few would receive anything above 4.5 stars from me. I reserve the 5 star rating for those headphones that provide a near perfect match to my tastes.
      Wilashort likes this.
    1. reddog
      A good review, lots of information, I especially like your views on the bass and mid bass.
      reddog, Mar 18, 2016
  8. kman1211
    Stylish and very good sounding wooden headphone.
    Written by kman1211
    Published Mar 16, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Excellent build quality, very easy to drive, balanced natural sound, dynamic and extremely smooth treble.
    Cons - Earcups a bit too small for larger ears. Mediocre comfort for larger heads and ears.
    Meze 99 Classics Review
     
    The Meze 99 Classics was sent to me as part of the review tour. Impressions of the headphone are based on a week of use. They are a headphone I've been curious about trying and seeing how they sound, the Meze 99 Classics sounded better than I ever expected. I tried the Meze on a variety of gear from my Sony UDA-1, Project Sunrise III(Toshiba D-getter 12AU7 tubes), Hifiman EF2A(6A5K GE tubes), Creative E5, and straight out of the iPad. The headphones I owned at the time of having the Meze 99's in house were the Audioquest Nighthawks, Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro Limited Edition, and the Sennheiser HD 650. I'm not really going to directly compare this headphone to them but rather just use them as a baseline in describing the Meze 99 Classics sound. The more in-depth aspects of the sound I may not fully describe properly as it has been a bit of time since I listened to them. Note: Sorry about lack of pictures and mediocre picture quality in this review, forget to back up all of my pictures. 
     
    IMG_1577.jpg
     
    Build:
     
    The build quality of the Meze 99 Classics is excellent, didn't see any plastic parts on the actual headphone itself, just metal, wood, and what I think is some sort of faux leather. The headband is self-adjusting like that found in AKGs and headphones like the Audioquest Nighthawk. There is no designation of right or left on the headphone so it all depends on what end of the cable is plugged into each earcup. The earcups are solid walnut, making it one of the better valued wooden headphones out there. I honestly wish there were more wooden headphones out there. The build has a nice feel and feels sturdy. Overall I would rate the build and quality of build very highly, somewhere between the HD 650 and the Audioquest Nighthawks(these being sturdier and more substantial feeling in the hands).
     
    Comfort:
     
    This is honestly where I find this headphone falls short for many people. Comfort was one problem I had with this headphone, the earcups were simply too small for my ears and thus rested on the outer part of my ears which caused discomfort after about 30 minutes, I also have a larger head than many people which made this a bit worse for me personally. Though changing the earcups will likely also affect the sound signature in a way that may hurt it's excellent tuning. People with smaller heads and ears shouldn't have problems with the comfort. I have found after spending a few days with them I got used to their comfort though.
     
    Drivability:
     
    These headphones are extremely easy to drive, in fact the easiest to drive of any headphone I've tested, in fact they sound really good directly out of my iPad Air 2, so much so I don't really feel the need for dedicated amplification for the Meze 99 Classics. 
     
    Sound Quality:
     
    This is the main focus of the review. Do they sound good? Yes, they sound very good and well worth their asking price. Of all my headphones, they sound the most like the Sennheiser HD 650, actually oddly similar in their tuning but also a bit different. They are full-bodied and warm sounding overall with nice punchy dynamics and good imaging. They are also very musical and euphoric making music listening a joy. The headphone is very well balanced and quite well extended in both the bass and the treble. Nothing really comes off as offensive or bothers me about it's sound.
     
    Treble:
     
    The treble on the Meze 99 Classics is neither too dark or too bright, they balance the treble out just right. The treble is articulate and quite refined. What struck out to me is the utter lack of excessive sibilance in the headphone, having heard headphones with similar levels of brightness I was expected to be hit by some mild sibilance around the level found on the HD 600. In fact they are one of the least sibilant headphones I've ever heard. Reminded me some of vintage headphones in this aspect, but without sounding old like a vintage headphone.
     
    Midrange:
     
    The midrange is very smooth and has excellent timbre and tone, simply the best midrange I've heard on a portable headphone. The midrange had a strangely addicting tone to it I really enjoyed and honestly miss. Vocals are smooth with good body and focus. A minor quibble I have found is that on some systems the upper midrange can have a slight nasally tone, but this is system dependent and likely fit dependent as well. There is no sense of hollowness in the sound of this headphone.
     
    Bass:
     
    The bass on the Meze 99 Classics is well extended and is quite punchy, doesn't quite have the extension of some headphones, but I can hear plenty low and the sub-bass can hit when called for. Seems to have a bit of a mid-bass emphasis, but not too much. The bass is one of the ways I find it the most different than the HD 650, it's more intimate and not as big sounding. And has a different tone to it, hard for me to describe, but I enjoyed it's bass presentation.
     
    Soundstage/Imaging:
     
    The soundstaging and imaging is very good on the Meze 99 classics, while the soundstage is on the smaller side, it's fully articulate and has good focus, things never sound cluttered on the soundstage despite it's intimate presentation. You will hear most everything on these you hear on the HD 650 for example just in a smaller and more close-up manner. 
     
    Final Thoughts:
     
    The Meze 99 Classics are simply one of the best portable headphones I've ever heard and are an excellent value for their sound, build quality, and looks. I am a sucker for wooden headphones and am heavily considering getting myself a pair in the future. I would definitely recommend these to anyone looking for an excellent closed-back portable headphone that is very easy to drive to the point where extra amps, etc. are not really needed with these. This makes them a tremendous value due to how easy they are to drive and their sound quality directly from portable devices, making them the most viable portable headphone I've used as everything else I tried required an external amp to show what they are capable of even if the headphone is supposed to be easy to drive. I was genuinely impressed with these headphones, I was expecting just a mediocre headphone but when I plugged them in and played music, a smile came across my face.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Bocefuss4500
      liked the review .. now little worried about buying a pair have big head but small ears ...
      Bocefuss4500, Mar 21, 2016
    3. Frederose
      How would you compare the bass to your DT990s ?
      Frederose, Mar 22, 2016
    4. kman1211
      @Frederose I actually found the bass a bit similar in character, the DT 990 has a bit more emphasis in the bass though, I have the Limited Edition DT 990 which has the black pads though which change the sound a little from the stock one. Sadly I don't have the Meze 99 to compare with it anymore and I don't listen to my DT 990 much, so comparison are kind of hard.
      kman1211, Mar 26, 2016
  9. jinxy245
    A Most Welcome Surprise
    Written by jinxy245
    Published Mar 14, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Design, overall sound signature
    Cons - Controversial Ear Pads, Microphonics
    If you would have asked me a couple of months ago about Meze (I’ve read it is pronounced meh-zeh) I would have thought you were referencing a Sci-Fi character I’ve never heard of. To spite the fact that Meze has been around since at least 2009, they certainly haven’t been a household name, nor have I read much about them here or on any other audio website. After hearing the Classic 99s, I’d say that’s about to change (at the very least here on Head-Fi).
     
    Meze has created a simply beautiful (IMO) headphone with a MSRP of $309 (USD).I don’t often refer to the esthetics of headphones. I generally don’t care too much what it looks like; I care more about the sound. Looks are subjective anyway. But with the Meze, I feel I must touch on the looks for a second. Subjective or not, these headphones visually tic all the right boxes for me. From the wood, to the lines of the headband arch and the shape of the holes for the cable connectors on the ear cups, everything is just visually pleasing to me. The gold is not as flashy “in person” as they seem in photos, but if that is still not your style, there are 3 other options (different wood, white trim, silver accents etc.) available on their website (https://www.mezeheadphones.com/headphones).
     
    The materials used in creating the Classics are a welcome departure from the plastic world in which we live. Real wood and metal are used, and everything is replaceable down to the tiniest screw. From their website: “Besides the usual warranty everybody is offering we guarantee that the 99's are endlessly serviceable if any parts would ever need to be replaced because we built these headphones to last”. Thankfully, even though these are constructed with wood & metal, the headphones are relatively light, weighing 290 grams (approx. 10.3 ounces).
     
     I have had no problem at all comfort wise, other than my ears getting a little hot occasionally, which I’ve experienced with every over ear headphone. They weight is well distributed, and the pressure is fine for my small to medium sized head, though I can see the potential for larger noggins to experience some discomfort. If your experience is different, the metal frame seems pliable enough to stretch or compact as needed (of course I did not experiment as these are a review pair and I found them to be comfortable enough as is). The ears pads, although on the small size, fit fine over my ears, and were comfortable enough to be forgotten once the music started.
     
     I feel as though I have to give a little more attention to the ear pads, since many reviews have more to say about them than how the headphones actually sound. Lots of manufacturers use ear pads that both fit over the ear (on most people), yet still rest on the outer portion, and the Meze are one of these headphones. This is obviously an intentional design choice, whether it’s to have the headphone be as portable as possible, or to help create a better seal around the ear for better noise isolation, there are lots of examples of this design choice. As divisive as these ear pads are, I was impressed to learn that the Meze team is listening, and working on addressing this issue. They are constantly trying to better their products, and responded to my inquiry as follows: “…we take headfi reviewers feedback very seriously and will do our best to perfect every detail that can be improved with every production batch we release.” Well done.
     
    Before I offer my listening impressions, I’ll start with a little about myself. I’m pushing 50 and have less than perfect hearing (50 is pushing back). I’ve been a music lover for as long as I can remember, and I learned to listen a little more critically during the few years I sold audio equipment (and I continue to learn the more I listen). My fascination/infatuation with headphones began about 4 years ago, and has only gotten stronger. The majority of my listening was done listening to FLAC, WAV & various MP3s with my Shanling M3, Fiio x3 (1st gen.) or through my HP all in one PC and Audioquest Dragonfly. My tastes are fairly eclectic, but my listening centered on classic rock, folk, jazz, classical and some of the genres of EDM (dubstep? electro house? I can’t differentiate it, but it is enjoyable). I didn’t bother with burning in the headphones since this is a review pair and probably already have a few hundred hours on them, nor did I hear any difference throughout my evaluation.
     
    Isolation is about average for a closed back headphone, muting outside noise but not totally blocking it out. The metal frame I found to be highly microphonic (or is it prone to microphonism?) and the cable did as well, although to a lesser extent. Even with music playing at reasonable volumes, some sound can intrude, giving a small measure of situational awareness outdoors, however I did almost all of my listening at home. I never felt the need for more amplification during my time with the Meze, even when I briefly tested them through my cellphone (Samsung Galaxy Core Prime) and my old 512 MB SanDisk Sansa. Both were able to drive the 99 Classics to unsafe listening levels, but I found that they  scale well. The better the DAC, the better the files, the better they sang.
     
    And sing they did. This was another example of a headphone that grew on me the more I listened. Not that they didn’t grab me on first listen…I’d say they did. It’s just that I usually find myself drawn to headphones with more neutral bass. The Meze have a “fun” mid bass hump that doesn’t stray too far from neutral to be bothersome. In fact I found the bass to be engaging almost to the point of being distracting from the other things the Meze can do (but not quite). Especially on well recorded Rock & other genres of music that have a driving bass line, the bass simply demands attention, and for me it was not unwelcome. It upped the enjoyment factor and I was surprised how much I was digging the presentation.
     
     I wouldn’t call these basshead cans, though. Looking at the graph from Innerfidelity (http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/MezeClassic99.pdf ) there is a roll off starting about 50 Hz (more steeply rolling after 40 Hz). At first, I wasn’t able to clearly hear anything lacking, mostly because there isn’t a lot of music with bass that low. I’m sure there are some that will clearly hear the difference with the lowest notes of an Organ Concerto, but my musical preferences don’t include a lot of sub bass oriented music. I thought I could just discern a subtle difference when listening to deadmau5 and Fatali comparing them to the Sennheiser Momentum (1st gen.), but that could be me tricking myself, and I found those tracks no less pleasurable through the Classic 99s.  
     
    The midrange of the Meze is clear and doesn’t sound to be effected by the bass. There does seem to be a slight elevation in the upper mid-range, but I found this to be very track dependent. I don’t think it’s a matter of male vs. female vocals, so much as how the track was recorded. Vocals with less mid-range presence sound natural and well balanced. The mids never called attention to themselves when listening to Boston, Rush, or Vanessa Carlton. Live recordings, Opera and Binaural recordings also had no evidence of mid-range elevation. However, on certain pop recordings (Sia, Shel, Joe Bonamassa come to mind) where the vocals are a bit more prominent in the mix, they sounded a tad too forward, or at least more forward than I’m used to. I also noticed this was most evident when listening to lower bit rate file (MP3s). For me this was never too bothersome, and did help with intelligibility on some older recordings.
     
    The highs I found to be detailed and well enough extended with high hats & cymbals sitting further back in the mix than my personal preference would dictate. For instance, in Crystal Bowersox’s title track from Farmer’s Daughter, just before the bass kicks in the splash cymbals are just a touch more recessed than I like, but I accustomed myself to the difference fairly quickly. Soundstage I found to be above average for a closed back headphone, wider than any I own, with decent depth and height (I never feel it to be fair to compare soundstage between closed and open backed headphones).
    I have been asked to do a comparison between these and some of the other closed back headphones I have. The only headphones I have that (I think) warrant a comparison would be the Sennheiser Momentum (I have the 1st gen.), being in a similar price bracket (the original MSRP. was $349 USD.). I’ll start by saying these are general impressions only, I did all channel balancing by ear, and the Meze are definitely more sensitive than the Senns, so getting the levels right was a challenge. If I erred I always tried to give the Senns the volume advantage, and this is obviously in no way scientific, but this is what I heard.
     
    The bass on the Sennheiser seems to go a bit deeper and has more of an emphasis with just about everything I played, so you can say I find the Momentums to be more “V” shaped in their sound signature. The mids on the Senns have more of a wooly quality and seem more distant than on the Meze, making the Momentums bass sound a bit more thick and impactful, whereas I found the Meze to be tighter and more articulate overall in the bass and clearer in the midrange. The treble between the two was surprisingly similar with a good amount of detail and extension in both. Soundstage was wider and deeper when listening to the Meze, with similar height, and the Meze are more comfortable to me, too. For a relative newcomer to the headphone world, I’d say Meze knocked this one outta da park.
     
    So the bottom line is: I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Meze Classics 99, even though these don’t have what I usually find to be my preferred sound signature. Once I let my ears settle into what the Meze can do, I found myself more & more looking forward to listening, not for evaluation, but for pleasure.  I’d say Meze has made a headphone that doesn’t just fit into the (already competitive) price point they’re in; I’d say they stand out. They are a most welcome surprise, indeed.
     
    IMG_0453.jpg
     
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    IMG_0455.jpg
     
    IMG_0457.jpg
     
    IMG_0458.jpg
      MezeTeam likes this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. reddog
      A sweet review, lots of good information, especially the comparison between the Meze and the Momentum.
      reddog, Mar 15, 2016
    3. jinxy245
      Thank you, everyone!
      @gargani surprisingly enough, the Meze have the larger earcups.
       
      In Tyll's review on Innerfidelity, he gave the measurement's for a few different popular headphones:
       
      Meze 99 Classic, 45mm x 55mm;
       
      Oppo PM3, 35mm x 60mm;
       
      NAD VISO HP50, 35mm x 65mm;
       
      Focal Spirit Professional, 37mm x 50mm;
       
      Master & Dynamic MH40, 35mm x 60mm;
       
      Bowers & Wilkins P7, 35mm x 60mm;
       
      Sennheiser Momentum, 30mm x 55mm 
       
      He didn't specify, but I thing the Momentum is for the 1st generation.
      jinxy245, Mar 15, 2016
    4. gargani
      Thanks for the measurements.
      gargani, Mar 20, 2016
  10. albaman
    Best Romanian Export Since Dracula
    Written by albaman
    Published Mar 3, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - "full sized portables" build quality, design language, sound signature
    Cons - slight garishness in looks but not tone, slightly shallow earcups, slightly suppressed treble.

    MEZE 99 CLASSICS REVIEW
     
    Best Romanian Export Since Dracula.
     
     
    Romania is best known for its cloudy Carpathian topography and its misty Transylvanian mythology. But there is nothing unclear about it’s latest export, the Meze 99 Classics headphones.
     
    Technical reviews of these phones abound on headfi so I am going to limit myself to personal impressions. I was loaned a pair by Team Meze as part of their Euro tour and forwarded them to the next recipients without favour in the black casket provided.
     
    Context
    A Romanian folk hero by the name of Mr Vlad Impaler was reputed to suck the blood out of unsuspecting visitors but the good people of Meze have designed a pair of quality headphones that demand only £240 in travellers’ cheques. That’s Master & Dynamic MH40 / Kef M500 money at the more sublime end of the getting blood out of a stone business and Dr Dre’s BEATS / Bose Quiet Comfort at the more ridiculous end.
     
    So I’m judging the Meze offering to the hifi gods within these parameters and frankly, they are a bit of a steal at that price.
     
    Build
    The 99 Classics are mesmerizingly beautifully put together headphones – see my pix -  from a distance and, close up, there are no horrors in the sturdy design whatsoever. OK. The ‘gold’ fittings are a tad short of tasteful but there are silver and walnut or white and walnut options should you choose to be slightly more discrete. In fact, the satin finished wood grain earcups are spellbindingly good quality for this kind of stake.
     
    The phones are also light for a full size wooden design although the cups are slightly on the shallow side but this makes them an even better option for portable listening. No coffin up for heavy cases (sorry) here either as they come with a sleek semi-hard carry case that will fit in any travel holdall.  Interchangeable cables also make for atypical longevity in use on the go or under cover of darkness.
     
    So as a portable offering, the Meze are built for the best part of your average eternal life; almost but not quite immortal.
     
    Supporting the idea that these phones will not be joining the undead any time soon, are the lack of plastics and zinc alloy and steel construction that allow for replaceable body parts throughout their lifetime. And Kevlar cables ensure a surreal connection day in night out.
     
    Fellow travellers / commuters will find it hard to avert their gaze as the Classics allow prolonged and unamplified listening from a 32ohm impedence and 103db sensitivity. And a dead weight of only 260grams ensures a sudden pain in the neck will not follow.
     
    But how do they sound?
    Imagine Justine Bieber as a wolf howling at the moon… Unfortunately, on the Meze 99s Justin Bieber will sound pretty much like Justin Bieber.
     
    Yes these phones are accurate, offering an only slightly ethereal take on a no man’s land neutral sound signature. If a see-saw represents a flatline then imaging it slightly raised at the bass end and slightly lowered at the treble end and neutral in the middle. Yes this is a slightly two dimensional sound picture and that is what the Meze 99 Classics deliver.
     
    For an almost on ear design that is truly portable, this is actually a compliment rather than a criticism and, in my opinion, their performance exceeds portable offerings by B&W and Beyer. Genuinely, a sound signature to get your teeth into.
     
    Add a more than decent soundstage, vocals that are in no way unnatural and you have phones to go that are good. Dead good.
     
    Power requirements are easily met; my AK120 Titan provided a match made in heaven – or a slightly darker version of it. Run through a desktop system, the Meze needed little or no effort to deliver unexpectedly good cut through from a Yulong A28 Sabre.
     
    Conclusion
    An only slightly unreal sound signature shrouded in an almost immortal build quality makes the Meze 99 Classics an irresistible deal, carriage included.
     
    If you disagree, bite me!
     
    albaman
     
     
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      trellus likes this.
    1. albaman
      Hi everybody, just one detail to correct. I intended to give these 'phones four stars but seem to have managed to split the fourth star. Anyone know how to correct?
      albaman, Mar 4, 2016
    2. albaman
      Duly corrected!
      albaman, Mar 4, 2016